South Carolina signed defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles (Fork Union, Va./Fork Union Military Academy) out of Greenwood High in the 2010 class, but Quarles failed to qualify and is playing this season at Fork Union in Virginia. He made his official visit to USC during the weekend and is now on track to be in Columbia in the near future.
Kelcy Quarles will step in next season and contribute on the defensive line for South Carolina- most likely at defensive tackle.
“I will actually be at South Carolina in December,” Quarles said. “It is done deal. It is in the books. My G.P.A. went up and my score went up a lot. Everything balanced out.”
Though Quarles signed with USC out of high school, he actually could have signed with anybody in the country out of prep school, but says he was never interested wavering on his commitment to the school where his father Buddy Quarles was a letterman.
“My recruitment has been over since I signed,” Quarles said. “Tennessee and a lot of other schools have come by trying to recruit me, but I just tell them I got my heart set on where I want to go.”
The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder returned to Columbia this weekend for his official visit.
“(The visit) was great,” Quarles said. “It was great just being around Marcus Lattimore again. He is like my brother. He saw me at the game and hugged me. It was just good to see all the guys. I felt like I let them down a little bit.”
Quarles was also able to see the coaches again, including South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier.
“It was great to just be around (Spurrier) again,” Quarles said. “He was fired up to just get me down there soon. We talked about the Tennessee game and talked about finishing up strong this season. He thanked me for sticking with school and South Carolina. He said that I could be like Marcus Lattimore next year and take over the defense.”
USC defensive line coach Brad Lawing was also able to catch up with his future defensive lineman.
“(Lawing) told me to just keep gaining weight,” Quarles said. “He said that he is proud of what I’m doing academically. He said that I will be an impact player next year. I just need to continue doing what I’m doing.”
The big question with Quarles is where is he going to play once he gets to Columbia?
“We are looking at both defensive end and tackle right now,” Quarles said. “My weight just keeps going up and down right now. I want to get to a solid 280 or 290 pounds. I would like to play defensive tackle and that is where I think I will play down the road.”
Though he hasn’t been able to be with the Gamecocks this season, he has been paying close attention to his future teammates.
“I’m proud of what they are doing,” Quarles said. “They just always hit that hump in the middle of the season and this year it was Kentucky. Hopefully they can finish it off this year though. One reason why I wanted to come to South Carolina was to help them get over that hump. I was proud that they beat Alabama and I’m just ready to get down there and help the defense out. I’m ready for us to make our season legendary.”
Quarles is joined at Fork Union with USC commitments safety Brison Williams and linebacker Brandon Golson.
“We have become like brothers while we have been here,” Quarles said. “We are all fired up to get to South Carolina and play with the rest of our boys.”
They have had a pretty good season of their own this year too.
“Our season is going great,” Quarles said. “We are 9-1 right now and we have one more game left against Hargrave. We have been playing real well. Coach (John) Shuman is doing a great job with us. I’ve been working really hard and just preparing myself for next January.”
Quarles said that he had around 50 tackles, eight sacks, and three fumble recoveries on the season. He was a four-star prospect coming out of high school and is one of the top prep school prospects in the country in the 2011 class.